This fall, Arizona State University welcomes a freshman class that sets new records on many levels.

Testament to the outstanding reputation of the university, 38,701 students applied for admission as first-time freshmen. At the end of today’s registration for classes, ASU will enroll 10,149 academically distinguished students, who also strive for excellence outside of the classroom, from around the globe.

Incoming Sun Devils include a concertmaster of a chamber orchestra, a global humanitarian who raised more than $250,000 for orphans in North Korea, and a member of the Running Start Young Women Political Leadership Program in Washington, D.C.

“ASU is increasingly becoming the school of choice for Arizona students, as well as for students from outside the state and other nations,” said Elizabeth D. Phillips, executive vice president and provost. “The message is carrying far and wide that Arizona State University is a place that embraces and champions excellence and opportunity for all academically qualified students. Come to us with your dreams, and your commitment to work hard, and we will help you make those dreams a reality.”

The new Sun Devil class is academically strong, with an average high school GPA of 3.4 and average SAT score of 1116. Forty-nine percent are New American University Scholars at the Dean, Provost and President Scholarship levels, the most prestigious scholarships for first-time freshmen.

Among this year’s class are 5,747 Arizona residents, 63 percent of whom will graduate in the top 25 percent of their high school class.

For Brandon Deatherage, of Phoenix, ASU was his only choice. While he is just beginning his college years, he has his eyes set on becoming a pediatric neurosurgeon.

“I chose ASU because I’m a pre-med student and I heard they teamed up with Mayo Clinic, so that’s pretty motivating,” said Deatherage.

Rayann Chee, of Cedar Creek, was considering Dartmouth College when she was there for a business program last summer. When it came down to choosing where to apply, however, she chose ASU to carry on her family’s Sun Devil tradition — her mom attended ASU, her aunt graduated from ASU and her grandmother got her doctorate degree from ASU.

A Gates Millennium Scholar, Chee is majoring in criminal justice and is a student in Barrett, The Honors College. She is one of 1,000 talented students nationwide to receive the prestigious scholarship, which covers unmet financial need through graduation and can be used at any US university. Her dream is to help reduce the rate of juvenile delinquency on her reservation.

ASU continues to honor its longstanding commitment to socioeconomic diversity and access to education, with more than 31 percent of admitted Arizona residents reporting they will be the first in their family to graduate from a four-year college and 25.6 percent coming from low-income families.

The freshmen class includes the largest number of non-resident students, 4,244, a 29 percent increase from last fall’s incoming freshmen. With non-resident students representing all 50 states and 71 different countries, the largest number, 1,314, come from California. ASU is increasingly becoming the school of choice for students from the Golden State, seeing a 13 percent increase in enrollment since last year.

Melanie Abramoff, from Agoura Hills, Calif., considered the University of Southern California, but only applied to ASU. She said she “fell in love with” the Downtown Phoenix campus after she visited.

“I wanted to be part of the Cronkite journalism and mass communication program,” said Abramoff, who aspires to work for the Food Network or Entertainment Tonight. “They have excellent teachers, and they’re hands-on and looking out for the best interests of their students.”

Collectively, this year’s freshmen make up ASU’s most diverse class to date in terms of their racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. 39.6 percent of the class is racial and ethnic minority.

More international students will call ASU and the Phoenix-area their home than ever before, with nearly 900 new freshmen hailing from outside of the United States – a 66 percent increase from last year’s class of 529 international freshmen. ASU has set the record for number of new international students each of the last five years, in part a reflection of the institution’s recognition as a top 100 university in the world by both the Center for World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

ASU continues to attract vast numbers of students interested in studying in the high-demand STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. The top 10 majors of choice for newly admitted students include biological sciences, mechanical engineering, biochemistry, computer science, biomedical engineering and health sciences. Rounding out the top 10 are business — the most popular major — psychology, and journalism and mass communication.